GLENS FALLS -- Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond said there has been virtually no opposition to putting Glens Falls Civic Center up for sale.

Only one person has contacted him, so far, who feels it should stay a publicly owned facility.

“He’s the only person I’ve run into that has expressed reluctance to selling the building,” Diamond said.

The Common Council on Tuesday took the first step in the process of putting the arena up for sale when the council voted unanimously to seek bids for a real estate appraiser to appraise the Civic Center.

The appraisal is to be completed by mid-July, in time for the Common Council to conduct a public hearing in late July or early August on the mayor’s intention to have a public referendum on the November ballot on whether the city should offer the Civic Center for sale.

If the referendum passes, a public auction would be held in 2014.

The city would set a minimum price, and could reject any and all bids.

The purchaser would be required, in deed and contract, to honor all events booked at the arena prior to the sale date.

Developer Richard Schermerhorn recently expressed interest in buying the arena, if the city would sell it at “a reasonable price.”

Schermerhorn, of Queensbury, has also said he would consider buying a professional hockey team and relocating it to Glens Falls.

Offering the arena for sale is one of the options an Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce task force on the Civic Center plans to discuss.

The task force includes government officials and business leaders.

Other options could include establishing a regional authority to own and operate the arena, establishing a regional Civic Center subsidy plan, selling naming rights, or, as a last resort, closing the arena.

Government officials and business leaders are looking for ways to spread the cost of the arena over a larger regional base.

The city, which owns the arena, must cover operating losses and debt at the arena, budgeted for this year to be $605,360.

Diamond has said the subsidy likely will be significantly higher if the city is unable to recruit a new American Hockey League tenant.

The Adirondack Phantoms, which uses the Civic Center as its home ice, are expected to relocate for the 2014-15 season to a new arena being built in Allentown, Pa.

Diamond said he looks forward to the initial task force meeting Thursday.

“Maybe there’s some ideas. We’re going to find out,” he said.

Earlier this month, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais proposed a regional subsidy plan, under which municipalities surrounding Glens Falls would make annual contributions to the arena.

Officials in the surrounding municipalities quickly rejected the proposal.

(6) comments

newshound

It was dumb to build this white elephant (without a parking garage) and it would REALLY DUMB to keep it. If no one wants it, tear it down already. There must be funds to help get rid of it...torch it and let fireman use it as training...get it gone and get a developer to build buidings up the hill OVER that stupid burgerking.

justlookin

Hey, how do you really feel?

Glens Falls Kaz

About time! You would not and could not run your household budget this way! Work with state reps and Gov. to get state office building with several hundred employees here year round- Leave the entertainment business to the private sector- if there is profit to be made they will build a venue somewhere else in the county!

smpotter

Yes, a really stupid idea to build a facility to enhance the cultural aspects of the city and region. Ridiculous to think that the CC has provided affordable sports and entertainment for Glens Falls and the north country for all these years. Yes, tear it down and relocate the Walmart or just leave a hole in the ground. Hopefully, someone will realize how important this facility has been and could be in the future, if properly funded and managed.

sasquatch

Good idea. Cut your losses. Like Michele bachman getting out of politics. The Tea Party is Dead. Everybody prefers coffee anyway. She can move to China and run for President there.

Old School FF

I would argue the point of the Civic Center providing "affordable" entertainment, especially since they can't fill the seats at most events. Government will always have one option to fall back on that private business never has; tax money. No matter how much the Civic Center loses, Government will make up the difference on the backs of hard working tax payers, in spite of the fact that 90% of those taxpayers never use the Civic Center. Government should exist to provide essential services only, not gamble away tax money on businesses that should succeed or fail on their own merits in private hands. Glens Falls should be investing it's tax money where it really needs to go; into a failing infrastructure and upgrading its public safety. Vote to sell the Civic Center, get Government out of the entertainment business and put this property back on the tax rolls.

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